NLRG was formed in 1957 to help in the study of birds in the Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society area. There are currently 12 active ringers. Species currently being studied include: Pied Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Sand Martin, Twite, Goosander, Oystercatcher and Grey Wagtail. Migration has been studied for 28 years at Heysham. We welcome anyone who wants to observe, help or perhaps wish to become a ringer. Photo: A Heysham-ringed Twite on the Mull of Kintyre (thanks to Eddie Maguire)

Friday, 4 February 2011

How Many Birds Visit Your Garden ?

In the wake of Big Garden Bird Watch many people will be totting up the numbers they saw over the watch period. However a snapshot like this can give a very limited view of the birds visiting your garden. Ringing data can help reveal both the numbers and the diversity of birds visiting a garden. One of our members Andrew Cadman regularly rings in his small (10mX 10m) well provisioned back garden towards the edge of a small estate in Over Kellet village.

He rings on average about once a week with one 30' mist net. The numbers he catches are revealing. This account covers 2010 and gives the totals for each species with new birds and re-traps from previous year making up the totals.

Tits of course feature highly in the totals with Blue Tits totalling 236. Quite a number are returning birds, one caught this year on several occasions is just over seven years old. Great tits numbered 66 and Coal Tits 31.Two Blue Tits and a Coal Tit were ringed as nestlings in the Lune valley upland woods and had moved to gardens for the winter.

Finches though predominate with Chaffinch at 106, Greenfinch at 180 but perhaps surprisingly Goldfinch comes out as the most abundant species with an amazing 333 caught during the year. Andrew rarely sees more than 10 at once on his feeders. Vey few are re-trapped suggesting a movement through the area.

Bullfinches(17) and Lesser Redpolls (24) have only recently taken to visiting garden feeders but look like fllowing Goldfinch as regular garden visitors. In some previous year Siskins have been regular visitors in late winter. The record year was 2006 with 306 ringed. This year only two were caught suggesting that there was plenty of natural food available.


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